Perceived discrimination and physical health-related quality of life: The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) Sociocultural Ancillary Study

Soc Sci Med. 2019 Feb:222:91-100. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.12.038. Epub 2018 Dec 27.


Rationale: The aim of this study was to examine the direct associations of perceived personal and group discrimination with physical health-related quality of life (HRQoL) among Latinx adults. We also tested whether ethnic identity and depression symptoms sequentially mediate these associations.

Method: This population-based study included 5313 Latinx adults, ages 18-74 years, from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (2008-11) and its Sociocultural Ancillary Study (2010-11). Participants were recruited from the Bronx; NY; Chicago, IL; Miami, FL; and San Diego, CA. Self-reported perceived personal and group discrimination, ethnic identity, depression symptoms, and physical HRQoL were ascertained through interviewer-administered surveys. Survey-weighted path analysis was used to examine direct and indirect effects simultaneously in one analytic model controlling for demographic covariates.

Results: Path analysis indicated that higher perceived personal discrimination was directly associated with poorer physical HRQoL and this association was only mediated by depression symptoms. In contrast, perceived group discrimination was not directly associated with physical HRQoL. However, each of the direct paths linking perceived group discrimination to physical HRQoL were statistically significant: perceived group discrimination was positively associated with ethnic identity, and ethnic identity was negatively associated with depression symptoms, and, in turn, depression symptoms were negatively associated with physical HRQoL. Our model accounted for 18% of the variance of physical HRQoL.

Conclusions: Perceived personal and group discrimination are differently associated with physical HRQoL. Results highlight the importance of considering self-perceptions of different discrimination forms when evaluating its impact on the physical HRQoL of Latinx adults.

Keywords: Depression symptoms; Ethnic identity; Group discrimination; Health-related quality of life; Hispanics; Latinx; Perceived discrimination; Personal discrimination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Depression / ethnology
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Hispanic or Latino / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Racism / psychology*
  • Social Identification
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult